With Cyclone Jasper looming over Queensland Steven Miles opts for an unfamiliar new tone | Queensland politics #Cyclone #Jasper #looming #Queensland #Steven #Miles #opts #unfamiliar #tone #Queensland #politics

At his first press conference as Queensland’s premier-in-waiting, Steven Miles came across as a man fighting his own instincts.

Miles, who built a public reputation as a wisecracking political warrior, spoke about the approaching Tropical Cyclone Jasper and his plans for government with little emotion or animation.

Before his effective confirmation as the successor to Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday, colleagues had questioned whether Miles had the “gravitas” required of a premier. So his reversion to monotone, with a natural disaster lumbering towards the coast, is an understandable attempt to show people he’s up to the job.

“I think the best case I can put is by demonstrating just how I would lead, and that is how I would lead, with 100% absolute focus on the safety and wellbeing of Queensland,” Miles has said.

But it was another press conference held on Tuesday, from another man who wants to be the premier of Queensland, which highlighted the real challenge Miles will face.

The leader of the Liberal National party, David Crisafulli, is ahead in the polls and, at his appearance in Townsville, appeared several steps ahead in the political manoeuvring.

Crisafulli introduced a woman, Melissa, whose car had been rammed in Townsville, allegedly by a group of youths.

“When Melissa tells her story, I want Queenslanders to reflect on what is happening in Brisbane at the moment,” Crisafulli said.

“I want Queenslanders to explain in their minds whether or not their government is interested in Queensland or some sort of game of thrones.”

Melissa cried as she breathlessly recounted the incident. A bloke driving past in a ute shouted out a message of support.

Crisafulli and the LNP have ruthlessly exploited the youth crime issue, pushing for hardline policies, like removing the principle of youth detention as a last resort, that experts say will make the situation worse. It has also been undeniably politically successful.

Annastacia Palaszczuk and her then ministers Meaghan Scanlon, Shannon Fentiman and Steven Miles
Annastacia Palaszczuk and her then ministers Meaghan Scanlon, Shannon Fentiman and Steven Miles at a press conference in May. Photograph: Darren England/AAP

The challenge for Miles is not – as it might first appear – shedding the attack dog image and acting more like a premier. Standing behind the podium in the “tower of power” in Brisbane, and speaking seriously, is unlikely to effectively counter an opposition leader who is already tapping heavily into emotional anti-Brisbane grievances in the regions.

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One of the biggest internal concerns about Miles is his ability to appeal to voters in regional Queensland, where Palaszczuk proved remarkably successful.

On this front, Miles might be best to stop fighting his own instincts and start, to borrow a term from Anthony Albanese, “fighting Tories”.

What Miles has already made clear is the extent to which cost-of-living policies will be at the forefront of everything he does between now and election day in 10 months’ time.

One of the most remarkable things about the Palaszczuk government was the stability. Since 2015 most senior ministers then are still senior ministers now. That was a political virtue until the government began to seem tired.

Miles’ elevation owes much to the same power brokers who insulated Palaszczuk for years. But the electorate had turned on Palaszczuk and Miles will also have to find fresh ideas and fresh faces.

While the new premier seemed almost defensive on Tuesday when deferring questions about the makeup of his new cabinet, it’s clear there will be a long-overdue clean out.

Whispers suggest the transport minister Mark Bailey, the attorney general, Yvette D’ath, and the agriculture minister, Mark Furner, could be among those to make way. The sports minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, who is retiring at the next election, has already indicated he will move to the backbench.

#Cyclone #Jasper #looming #Queensland #Steven #Miles #opts #unfamiliar #tone #Queensland #politics

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